TELL ME ABOUT IT
Many decades ago, my father went to Hawaii on a business trip. All by himself at the hotel one evening, not knowing how best to explore the island state, he picked up the telephone directory, flipped through it and came across a name that caught his interest. Feeling half-apprehensive and half-adventurous, he decided to give the gentleman a call. Before the man on the other end could bang down the phone, calling him all kinds of names for what seemed like a prank call, my old man hurriedly introduced himself. Curious to experience Hawaii through the eyes of a local, he asked the gentleman if he’d like to join him for dinner. To my father’s surprise, he said yes, and what happened next, as they say, is history.
The gentleman was not only generous with his hospitality but he also gave my father an insight into the place that no map or guide book could. The two went on to build a
What the Internet LACKS is the ability to create a GLOBAL VILLAGE free of PREJUDICE. That happens only when we make the EFFORT to know the person behind a FACE through true, HONEST conversation
bond that developed into a long, warm friendship through which two individuals, who lived on either side of the world with nothing much in common, exchanged notes on family, friends, holidays and all that stuff men talk about, and, in the process, busted their own constricting perceptions of each other’s worlds.
To the millennials, this anecdote might come across as shocking – who does this in this age when a stranger is made out to be a bogeyman? Plus, there’s the Internet; Mr Know It All, which has answers to every question, doubt or dilemma.
But what the Internet lacks, ironically, is the ability to create a global village free of prejudiced sentiments and parochial mindsets. That happens only when we make the effort to know the person behind a face through true, honest conversation.
This is where simple yet brilliant initiatives like The Human Library play a vital role. They provide a platform where two people from either side of the cultural, social, or economic spectrum can start a meaningful conversation that frees them of unwarranted assumptions. Read more about it on page 32 and let me know what you think.